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VOLLEYBALL: Well-rounded efforts help Lady Tigers split senior night, take three of four
Maggie Allen (center) makes sure her kill is inbounds while her teammates celebrate the point. - photo by Rio White

Since dropping their opening two matches of the season, Dawson County’s volleyball team has rapidly improved — winning six of their last seven while facing a variety of non-region challenges. 

The team’s depth continued to evolve during their first homestand of the season, kicked off with a celebratory senior night on Tuesday, Aug. 16. The Lady Tigers first faced 5A side Jefferson before squaring off against Lakeview Academy.

Seniors Abby Clouser, Abby Felkai, Jessica Mann, Skyler Murphy, Kirklyn Porter and Emerald Sallee were all recognized in between matches.

For head coach Tanya Porter, those seniors have shown growth both in their skills and character over the years.

“The seniors have done a great job providing consistency and depth to our lineup,” Porter said. “It’s heartwarming to see them grow on the court but also in their ability to struggle through adversity, not quit on themselves or their teammates and come out on the other side of difficult [situations] even stronger.”

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The student section celebrated the senior volleyball players Tuesday night. - photo by Rio White

Tuesday night’s first match presented the toughest challenge of the week, with the Lady Tigers facing a Jefferson side coming off a 22-win season with only one loss in their region. 

Dawson came out of the gate aggressively, keeping pace with the Dragons until a spate of unforced errors gave the visitors a window of opportunity to take the first set. 

After falling 16-25 in the first set, the Lady Tigers regrouped and turned the match around by using defensive strength to stay in points. 

By the end of the second set, Dawson had flipped the score to win 25-16 and force a decisive third set.

After gaining some early points, the hosts lost momentum to Jefferson and lost the final set 10-15.

“I thought we struggled to sustain that energy for the entire three sets,” Porter said. “We made many service and hitting errors that I thought came from that struggle.”

Following the senior recognitions, the Lady Tigers looked refreshed in the match against Lakeview Academy. 

With the help of improved fundamentals — and a raucous student section — Dawson’s energy carried them to a 25-9, 25-10 victory.

Between the two matches, Megan Roche led the team with 10 aces and nine digs, Felkai led with 15 kills, and Porter led with 18 assists and two blocks while tying Roche with nine digs.

“Overall, it was a good night,” Porter said. “That was the first time we have ever won a set against Jefferson and the first time we have won a match against Lakeview. We had an amazing crowd there to support the team and our seniors.”

Two nights later, the Lady Tigers played two more home matches against Chestatee and Union County.

Dawson won both matches, improving their overall season record to 6-3. 

Next, the Lady Tigers will face a pair of Forsyth County teams on Thursday, Aug. 25, playing West Forsyth and East Forsyth.